George Konrad. Ivan Sanders, trans. Carlos Fuentes, intro.
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An architect considers his life, his work, and the many-layered history of the unnamed city that he and his family—all of them architects—have helped to construct. After much of what his father built is destroyed in World War II, the architect becomes a Stalinist planner, and realizes that the power of the wealthy and affluent has been usurped by technocrats. Told with wit and elegance by one of Hungary's greatest authors, this novel chronicles the indignities of both living in and contributing to a cruelly depersonalized society.
"[George] Konrád is an extraordinary writer, possessed—in Ivan Sanders's excellent translation—of an acrid eloquence that can rise to a pitch of ecstasy. Surreal juxtapositions and lightning shifts of thought show the hand of a highly sophisticated artist."—Newsweek